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NOVEMBER 2020

NEWSLETTER
Our congratulations go to Amos Gwema who won the prestigious "TUSK Ranger of the Year" Award, despite fierce competition. Amos had a ZOOM call with Prince William for the presentation of the award, which was televised worldwide on the 3rd December. This is an extremely well deserved award when you consider the tremendous impact Amos has had on reducing the commercial poaching in Matabeleland, and the Bhejane Trust is very proud to be associated with Amos 
A bug thanks to Sarah Craig for her assistance on the ZOOM calls with TUSK and the Prince
After and exceptionally hot two weeks at the start of November, the rains finally arrived, as scattered thunderstorms. This brought relief and took the pressure off waterpoints.. The rains continued to the end of the month with heavy storms being recorded
I spent a few days at Kapula Camp with Portia Rowlands, who has taken it upon herself to assist the camp attendants at Sinamatella - Shumba, Masuma and Mandavu. She bought them beds and mattresses, solar lighting kits, paint and brushes to clean up their accommodation, window panes to replace missing ones, basins, door locks and other bits and pieces. The attendants pitched in with the paiintng and sorting, and they also cleaned up around their accommodation. Well done Portia! A great initiative.

ZAMBEZI NATIONAL PARK

Yet again we were hit by very determined thieves!! They used crow bars and hacksaws, and tried to get the panels at No 1 but failed. However, they managed to get the pumps and steal them. We have replaced one pump though and the waterpoint is back in action. 
I asked for help over the full moon period for volunteers to go together with Parks rangers and do night patrols around the solar units. There was a very positive result and especially encouraging was the number of young guides and learner guides who responded - I had to turn volunteers away in the end as all patrol slots were taken! 
A stunning picture of Thomson Pan by Tami Walker
A construction company in town, Esor, has volunteered to undertake repairs to the Chamabonda road.They have dumped loads of gravel on the bad patches and will be coming in to grade the road. Just in time as the rains arrive!
KAZUMA PAN NATIONAL PARK
We checked on Kazuma waterpoints this month, and although the second Corner Pan pumphad suffered slight damage for elephants, all was well. There had been some rain and the game was noticeably dispersed.
We did not get the chance to instal the new pump at Corner Pan and if we have a lot of rain, this will be delayed further
ROBINS
Robins has received some good rain, with inflows into the rivers - Deteema Dam has started to fill again. 
Onias spent four days at Bumbumutsa repairing the damage where the elephant had undercut the trough, which was near to collapsing, and thanks to Camp Hwange for their help with the tractor and trailer to cart rocks.
SINAMATELLA
Report by Stephen Long
   We are off to a great start to the rainy season. If it continues like this we’ll have to consider buying a boat……..
   This is, by a very long way, the most rain we have recorded in November at Sinamatella but, a small note of caution, the total was boosted by a very heavy isolated storm on the 11th which hit Sinamatella Camp but missed most of the rest of the sector. No matter, as we travel around we are seeing pools of water everywhere, the elephants that had started to drift back at the end of October have gone again, the grass is growing, the Mopane trees are in leaf. and all looks good.
    At the start of the month it was, of course, a different story. The buffalo were still around, and still congregating in large herds. Sue and I met a herd hundreds strong one day as they were leaving Mandavu Dam after drinking…..
 Elephants were still around and, as is natural, the weakest ones were dying ……..
   There was not much for them to eat …..
  And the roads we took on our journeys around the Park were hot, dry and dusty…..
    The early rain in October prompted a lot of the shrubs around Sinamatella that put out leaves, but a combination of extreme heat and no further rain caused them to dry up and the leaves shrivelled on the branches. Then the clouds started to build up……
And when it finally rained; life for us, and the Park’s flora and fauna, changed dramatically. Our trips out of Camp were no longer so dusty …….
 It didn’t take long for the vegetation to respond…….
   All kinds of insects appeared…….
   And the Foam Nest Frogs made their frothy bubble nests wherever there was a suitable pool…….
    All of this happens every year, but every time we watch in wonder (and Sue’s camera is even busier than usual). For the herbivores the relief must be enormous. Let’s hope the weather doesn’t change and they can spend the next four or five months getting fat and ready for when the dust returns next year.
RHINO MONITORING & PROTECTION UNIT

Report By Nick Long
The team did a total number of 20 patrols during the month with 223 km on foot and 483 km by vehicle. 

Early in the month, a team of Parks rangers and Painted Dog Conservation Anti-Poaching (PDC) scouts found where 5 buffalo had been snared and the meat recovered in the Deka Tail concession, bordering the Sinamatella area. A combined team of Bhejane Trust Rhino Monitors, National Parks and PDC Anti-Poaching reacted, and traced the poachers back to their base camp hidden in the hills 5km away - they found kit and meat and evidence of a further 2 kudu poached.. However, the poachers had left the camp, so the team continued to track them - for the next 5km the poachers were anti-tracking, but when they thought they were clear, they headed straight for their home village.
The team followed, and some 28km from the base, they came to the poachers home village - by now it was getting dark. They waited until everything in the village settled down and went to sleep, and then raided the houses - by now PDC had brought in a tracker dog to help. They arrested four of the poachers, but another three escaped, but are known and are on the run. They recovered meat and various incriminating items.
The four poachers confessed to the poaching, led the team to their snare lines which were removed, and gave a lot of valuable information on all the poaching syndicates in the area.
At the same time a Bhejane Trust/National Parks team intercepted a suspicious car in the Deka Tail area, with two occupants who could not satisfactorily explain their presence. The car was escorted to a nearby Parks base, and the occupants handed over to the police. It is believed they were coming in to recover meat, but this could not be proven. However, they were fined for illegal entry into a Parks, and paid a fine to release the vehicle
The four poachers have been found guilty in the Hwange magistrate's court and are awaiting sentencing.
A great effort by all involved!!
The poachers arrested over the weekend for killing 5 buffalo and 2 kudu were today sentenced in Hwange court to an effective 18 months each, plus restitution to Parks of US$ 48000 for the buffalo and US $ 4500 for the kudu.
A satisfactory result!"
We also did several rhino monitoring patrols during the month but the rain we had received seemed to have moved the rhino as not much activity was found in their dry season ranges, we now have the task of trying to find where each one goes during the rainy season as they have a larger range due to the availability of water.
Towards the end of the month we did an anti-poaching patrol in the Kwizizi area. On one of the days we arrested 2 individuals who were in possession of a 70m long gill net with one and a half inches mesh which they intended to use in a dam nearby. They were taken to Parks investigation branch and they were fined RTGS $500 each for the illegal possession of a gill net.
The 2 poachers arrested for the illegal possession of a gill net
When we returned after taking the poachers to Hwange we found a domestic dog at our base. It ran away and slept a short distance away then early the next morning we located a poacher’s spoor a few meters from our base. It seems they were hunting with dogs and walked into our base without realizing it was there. We tracked the spoor and it was soon joined by another one a couple of hundred meters from our base. Thinking that the poachers might have a base nearby, we tracked the spoors for about 4 km even though they had been employing anti-tracking tactics but we gave up when it was obvious they were heading out of the park towards Madumabisa village in a resettlement area, where the spoor would be lost.
 
POACHING
As the unemployment and economic situation continues to worsen, the meat oaching has dramatically increased, with a lot of snaring taking place. However, the commercial ivory poaching has dropped right off, thanks to the work done by Parks Investigations, and only a few cases of illegal ivory were handled in November
GRATEFUL THANKS

We have had an amazing period of support from all our friends, new and old, out there, and we really appreciate all this support. Our heartfelt thanks to (in no particular order):
Morne and Michelle Muller of Surgical and Opthalmic Supplies for coming to the rescue when we needed more solar panels out of SA
Piet Weller, through Lionel and Annelise Finaughty for the offer to sponsor a wateroint in Kazuma in memory of Wessels Weller
Patrick Jacquemin for this donation towards Parks staff to help them financially and stop ration hunting at the same time
Larry Norton for his offer of a percentage of sales of prints to go to the trust ( details will be in the next newsletter)
Frank Zindell of the Educasa Foundation and a longtime supporter has made a very genrous donation, which is very much appreciated.Thanks to Stuart Danks of Simply Africa for facilitation
Dr Mark Bristow and Hunters and Guides for the financing of our Rhino Monitoring and Protection Unit. Mark came out and pledged assistance for a further three years!!! They have also just confirmed funding for a second RMPU unit.
Elka Lenherr-Toedtii for her generous donation towards a complete borehole/pump setup
Simon and Portia Rowlands for a very generous donation towards s complete borehole/pump unit
SATIB and the Southern Africa Conservation Trust for their support on insurances - thanks to Brian Courtney
Ian Gloss of Victoria Falls Liquorama for his continued assistance
Pieter and Anthea Erasmus for their continued support, and for the use of their vehicle They have also supplied the rangers food parcels - more on this next month
Michel Buenerd of Le Pic Vert, and Le Pal Nature Foundation, for funding their TENTH borehole and pump in Sinamatella!
Patrick Jacquemin has once again risen to the fore with a great donation to help our operational costs, and to put in a new borehole and pump, which will go in early this year
Mark Unwin and the Clarkson Family Trust, for yet another generous donation.
Antoinette van Wijk of Holland for her stirling fund raising effort
Nicholas Duncan and the SAVE The African Rhino Foundation of Australia – a staunch supporter.
RAM Petroleum
Jim Goddard of JRG for monthly diesel donation
Ricky Forster and Forster Irrigation of Bulawayo 
Dave Carson and Camp Hwange for helping fund our Sinamatella Rhino Monitoring Unit and game water supplies.
John Karasellos of Hisspan Motors for his continuing assistance and support.
Hwange Conservation Society (UK) - John Gillon - for their generous support
Sarah Craig for her assistance on computers
Colin Wilson for donation of tyres
Sandy Elsworth for his donation

 
A big thanks to Ministry and Parks Staff :
 Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality, the Hon. Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu
The Director General - Mr Fulton Mangwanya
The Chief Conservator - Mt Arthur Musakwa
The Cluster Manager (Mat North) - Matabeleland - Mr Samson Chibaya,
Area Manager - Zambezi --Mr Marvellous Mbikbiyana
Area Manager, - Robins and Kazuma - Mrs N Moyo
Area Manager - Sinamatella - Mr Mutandwa
 and all their guys on the ground for all their support and assistance.

To my wife Liz for her continual support in all my comings and goings!!

Apologies if we have inadvertently left anyone out!! Your help is much appreciated 

DONATIONS

Bhejane Trust relies on donations to continue it’s operations, which includes our daily operating costs, as well as specific projects. 

PLEASE HELP!! 

Donate to help us save our wildlife heritage - any donations would be gratefully accepted . Donations can be through our “PayNow” button (below) or direct to our bank account:

Bank details :

Bhejane Trust,
FBC Bank,
Galleria Building, Parkway
Victoria Falls
Zimbabwe
Branch Code : 8512
Swift Code : FBCPZWHAX
Account No : 2245093780275

Bhejane Trust office address:
231 Sopers Crescent,
P.O.Box 210
Victoria Falls,
Zimbabwe

Note - we do not have postal codes in Zimbabwe (00)

CONTACT DETAILS

Trevor Lane : trevor@bhejanetrust.org         +263 777 057 024
Stephen Long : stephen@bhejanetrust.org 

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trevor@bhejanetrust.org

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Bhejane Trust · 231 Sopers Crescent · Victoria Falls · Zimbabwe

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